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Location: through the flesh above and/or adjacent to the cartilage of the tragus

Jewelry: initially, a surface bar will be used ranging from 18 gauge (1mm) to 14 gauge (1.6mm) in thickness with the length varying depending on the ear's anatomy

Healing: total healing time is usually from 3 to 9 months; can be longer

Aftercare: about twice a day, wash with warm water and antibacterial soap; sea salt solutions and sprays can aid with the process and both are recommended for use in an aftercare routine

The true vertical tragus piercing actually passes through the cartilage of the tragus, but in this case we'll be discussing the increasingly popular surface piercing version of this look. This piercing passes through no cartilage and is classified as a surface piercing, not an ear piercing.

This piercing isn't recommended for those new to modified style. Even in the best of conditions (experienced piercer, ideal anatomy, and use of a surface bar), a vertical tragus surface piercing is prone to migration and rejection. For this reason, you'll want to visit your local piercing professional to see what their expertise has to offer and whether or not if the surface tragus piercing is even an option for you and your ear at all!

General Aftercare Tips for Ear Piercings:

  • Avoid smoking, using public telephones, and sleeping directly on your new piercing. 
  • ALWAYS make sure you wash your hands before touching your piercing/its jewelry. 
  • Resist the urge to change your initial jewelry prematurely - it's worth the wait to do it correctly. 

Also known as the sideburn tragus piercing, this procedure does not go through any cartilage, so the healing process is different than that of the cartilage ear piercings we've mainly discussed so far in this series. This also means that the pain level will be different than typical ear piercings of the cartilage (most claim it's worse).

As we've already mentioned, surface piercings are more prone to rejection or migration from your skin than your typical body piercing. While some people's bodies may openly welcome foreign objects such as body jewelry, other types of immune systems may not be as happy with a new surface piercing. These are all risks to consider before consulting a piercer to get it done.

Want to see some alternative threaded options for your surface tragus piercing whether you just got it pierced or have had it for years?!


We've got you covered here at with a ton of surface piercing body jewelry to choose from!


This post is included in the Ear Piercing category of our encyclopedia and is joined by many other blog posts about the other piercings available as options in the ear and surrounding areas.

  1. Standard Ear Lobe Piercing
  2. Upper Ear Lobe Piercing
  3. Standard Helix Cartilage Piercing
  4. Forward Helix Cartilage Piercing
  5. Rook Cartilage Piercing
  6. Conch (Inner) Cartilage Piercing
  7. Flat (Scapha/Outer Conch) Cartilage Piercing
  8. Daith Cartilage Piercing
  9. Snug (Anti-Helix) Cartilage Piercing
  10. Industrial Barbell Cartilage Piercing
  11. Tragus Cartilage Piercing
  12. Anti-Tragus Cartilage Piercing
  13. Vertical Tragus Surface Piercing

DISCLAIMER: the styles and locations displayed in the reference images featured in this post won't match perfectly with your ear's shape because each and every person has an anatomy that is uniquely individual and some of the piercings featured in our encyclopedia may not be possible for you to get. To find out what piercings are available for you and your specific anatomy, the best option is to visit your local professional piercer and ask for their expertise in determining what piercings are possible for you and your ear!

Have an experience of your own to share about getting your vertical surface tragus piercing? We'd love to hear about it - just leave a comment below :D
  • A

    Hi Taiylor,

    Everybody’s body is different! The healing process is going to be different for everyone – not everyone will need to resize.

    If you’re worried about rejection, the health of your skin, or think your body is rejecting the piercing, you should consult your professional piercer. Head back to your local shop – they are qualified and licensed to give you professional medical advice.

    Alley (Body Candy Team) on

  • T

    I had this for almost 3 months and is jt true that you have to get a smaller ring after a while because the skin may look like it’s stretching ? I’m hoping it’s not rejecting

    Taiylor on

  • J

    Hi Sheri,

    Did you put the original jewelry you were pierced with back in? You may just need a different type of jewelry. It could also be that with it being the first time you’ve removed the jewelry, your skin is taking some getting used to that. If this lasts more than a week, we’d suggest visiting a piercer and having them take a look to see what’s going on.

    Jodie O on

  • S

    I have a flat cartilage piercing. I’ve had it for a year. I took the stud out to clean it and my ear swelled up and i couldn’t get the stud to go back in. I finally did but now I have pain at the site all the time. I clean it regularly. Why is it doing this? It’s not infected. Just sore.

    Sheri on

  • T

    The daith was the best thing I ever had done for my migraines. Before getting mine in October I was in the Drs. Office, Urgent care and ER’s about 10 or more days for migraines since the Daith I have only been twice. I still have migraines but not the ones that put you out of commission for days or weeks.

    Tina Cordle-Howard on

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